Dawson's Mission, Core Values & History

Our Mission
The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain is a nurturing learning community for students in preschool through grade eight that challenges students to achieve excellence in mind, body and character.

Our Vision
Our graduates will be ready to achieve their individual potential, savor life and meet the challenges of the world.

Dawson's Diversity Statement

The distinct Dawson learning environment is reflective of the diverse community that surrounds us. The celebration of differences drives the Dawson mission and unifies the school-wide focus of self and social awareness. Students benefit from working with and learning from other students and teachers who are varied in learning styles, socioeconomic backgrounds, race, religions, ideology, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, culture and ethnicity. We are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming learning community.

Core Values

List of 4 items.

  • Belonging

    Our community exhibits empathy, integrity, humility, and kindness. We are accountable for our actions and learn deeply from others. We uplift diverse voices and build experiences that honor identity. We listen for understanding to develop and nurture purposeful partnerships.
  • Engagement

    Our community believes wonder and joy result in thoughtful and enduring learning. True to the legacy of our founder, there is no limit to what we dream, do, try, and solve. Our learners exert voice and choice during the journey toward new competencies and skills. Our commitment to evolve and take ownership of our growth reflects our engagement with lifelong learning.
  • Advocacy

    Our community appreciates the sacrifices of others for freedom and social justice. We aspire to positively impact our school, local community, and the world. We investigate root causes, analyze  solutions, connect with people in need, and are empowered activists in the problem-solving process. Dawson changemakers value global perspectives and a “Love of the Land”. 
  • Resilience

    Our community believes learning should inspire creativity, collaboration, and innovation through experiences that embrace trial and error, failing forward, an iterative mindset, and reflection. Our founder believed in “Nothing Without Labor” and a transformative student experience that requires productive struggle.

Dawson History

List of 2 items.

  • History of Our Private School in Las Vegas

    In 1996, the Alexander Dawson Foundation decided to open a school in the Las Vegas Valley, the Foundation’s home for more than 30 years. Located on a 33-acre campus in the beautiful community of Summerlin, the Alexander Dawson Foundation spent $58 million for the land, facilities, the interest expenses on the construction bonds, and budget support during the School’s early years. We broke ground in 1999 and The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain opened on September 6, 2000, with over 150 students from kindergarten through fifth grade.

    From 2001-2003, the School expanded by adding sixth, seventh and eighth grades to the curriculum. A three-year-old preschool curriculum was added in 2009.
  • About the Founder of the Alexander Dawson Foundation

    G.B. “Jerry” Henderson was a philanthropist and entrepreneur, fascinated by technology, education, and innovation. He founded the Alexander Dawson Foundation in 1957 to provide students with access to the highest quality of education in the United States.

    Girard Brown Henderson was born on February 25, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York, the younger son of Alexander Dawson Henderson, Sr. and Ella Brown Henderson. Alexander Dawson Henderson was vice president and treasurer of the fledgling California Perfume Company which after surviving the Great Depression, eventually went public in 1945, changing its name to Avon Products, Inc.

    Upon graduating from a prep school (the Storm King School) in upstate New York, Jerry was accepted to Dartmouth University, but he left in the middle of his freshman year. Jerry wrote that the headmaster of his prep school was better at getting graduates into the Ivy League than the school was at preparing graduates to succeed in college and the workforce. He said it was a bitter disappointment. Disenchanted with higher education, Jerry went to work as, in his words, a shipping clerk for a silk company, standing eight hours a day, cutting and filling orders for clothing manufacturers.

    Thankfully, Jerry had an entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to pursue a wide range of interests. He owned a crab meat processing plant in Beaufort, South Carolina; a cable television company in Carmel, California; a sailboat manufacturer in Nevada; a Swiss bank in Zurich; a 30,000-acre sheep and cattle station in New Zealand; and the corporate jet manufacturer, Gulfstream American Aviation.

    In 1957 Jerry established the Alexander Dawson Foundation, naming it for his father and dedicating it to children’s education. His goal was to inspire children to not just learn, but to be responsible citizens who would lead purposeful lives, to counter the lack of inspiration he experienced through his own educational journey. Although Jerry was not an educator, as in so many other things, Jerry was ahead of his time. Concepts that have come into the mainstream today were central to the Alexander Dawson Foundation’s mission and philosophy since its inception. Educating the whole child was key to inspiring life-long learners who took personal responsibility for their future and the future of their community. Long before it was popular, Jerry understood that the best way to learn something is to engage in an activity that requires the skill or knowledge that one wants to learn. Today this idea goes by different names, active learning or experiential education.

    His legacy could be measured in companies started and in dollars earned, but more importantly, it can be measured in the lives of those who knew him, the people he worked with, and most importantly the students that have been the beneficiaries of the Alexander Dawson Foundation.

The Alexander Dawson School

The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student academics, wellbeing, and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners and leaders. At Dawson, students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.